Baseball fans in the U.S. are still waiting to hear the words “play ball!” In Taiwan, however, games have been ongoing and recently featured a new addition: in-stadium fans.
Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) has now begun allowing fans back into ballparks for games after consulting with health officials on safety measures. In order to ensure the health and safety of all involved, attendance will be limited to 1,000 fans who must pass a temperature screening upon entry and keep a physical distance from others. Spectators will have three seats separating them and every other row in the stands will be vacant. Additionally, they are prohibited from bringing in outside food or drinks while concession stands are closed.
WELCOME BACK FANS!!!!
We are hoping to allow 1000 fans to our stadiums as early as May 8th!Thank you to all the frontline workers at @MOHW_Taiwan for making this possible! #CPBL #TaiwanCanHelp#baseball pic.twitter.com/SaarkBuZsg
— CPBL 中華職棒 (@CPBL) May 5, 2020
The CPBL was the first baseball league worldwide to return in the wake of the pandemic. After a three-week delay, games resumed in mid-April with empty stadiums, though one team got creative by filling its stands with robotic mannequins to stand in for the typical ballpark crowd. Baseball has also returned in South Korea as the Korea Baseball Organization resumed games last week, also without fans.
There is no word yet on a potential start date for the MLB or how games may be staged. Recent reports suggest that the league may be submitting a proposal to the players union shortly outlining a potential season plan. July 1 was floated as a rumored start date for the season though one insider has said that is an optimistic target date but unlikely to occur.